BOC shares fall 5% as results miss expectations

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The Independent Online

BOC Group, the industrial gases company, saw its shares drop 5 per cent yesterday after reporting results that fell short of City forecasts.

BOC Group, the industrial gases company, saw its shares drop 5 per cent yesterday after reporting results that fell short of City forecasts.

The company announced an 11 per cent increase in pre-tax profit to £449.1m, before exceptionals, for the year ended 30 September, slightly below analysts' consensus forecasts of £455m. Sales were up 15 per cent to £3.9bn, or 11 per cent, for the fourth quarter at £1.1bn.

Analysts also pointed to an unfavourable comparison with the group's French rival, Air Liquide, which last month reported a 26 per cent rise in third-quarter revenues.Tony Isaac, BOC's chief executive, said: "We have an extremely strong order book, which gives us visibility over the next three quarters." He said there was no evidence for speculation that BOC would be hit by a possible slowdown among its microchip maker clients. The company makes vacuum pumps that purify the air in chip factories.

"There is going to be a downturn in the [chip] industry at some stage but our order book shows no sign of it," he said.

BOC shares closed down 48p at 914p, having risen strongly over the last month.

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